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ISRO’s ‘POEM’ Platform

Context:

Besides placing three Singaporean satellites in precise orbit, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) also achieved the feat of successfully launching the PSLV Orbital Experimental Module or ‘POEM’.

Relevance:

GS III- Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is POEM?
  2. How will ISRO keep POEM ‘alive and stable’ in orbit?
  3. Has ISRO repurposed and used PS4 rocket junk earlier?

What is POEM?

  • The PSLV Orbital Experimental Module is a platform that will help perform in-orbit experiments using the final, and otherwise discarded, stage of ISRO’s workhorse rocket, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
    • The PSLV is a four-stage rocket where the first three spent stages fall back into the ocean, and the final stage (PS4) — after launching the satellite into orbit — ends up as space junk.
    • However, in PSLV-C53 mission, the spent final stage will be utilised as a “stabilised platform” to perform experiments.
  • POEM is carrying six payloads, including two from Indian space start-ups Digantara and Dhruva Space.

How will ISRO keep POEM ‘alive and stable’ in orbit?

  • According to ISRO, POEM has a dedicated Navigation Guidance and Control (NGC) system for attitude stabilisation, which stands for controlling the orientation of any aerospace vehicle within permitted limits.
    • The NGC will act as the platform’s brain to stabilize it with specified accuracy.
  • POEM will derive its power from solar panels mounted around the PS4 tank, and a Li-Ion battery. It will navigate using “four sun sensors, a magnetometer, gyros & NavIC”.
  • It carries dedicated control thrusters using Helium gas storage. It is enabled with a telecommand feature

 Has ISRO repurposed and used PS4 rocket junk earlier?

  • The Indian space agency first demonstrated the capability of using PS4 as an orbital platform in 2019 with the PSLV-C44 mission that injected Microsat-R and Kalamsat-V2 satellites into their designated orbits.
  • The fourth stage in that mission was kept alive as an orbital platform for space-based experiments.
  • While in that mission, the fourth stage had Li-Ion batteries, solar panels are an addition this time.
  • The latest repurposing and upgrade of the fourth stage of the PSLV rocket involves stabilization of the orbital platform.

-Source: Indian Express


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